"A government big enough to give you everything you want, is big enough to take away everything you have"
Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gov to Schools

The following is a letter from the Governor to schools, I have highlighted some interesting points in the letter. Notice where the Governor tips his hand and talks about his 10% reduction in state agencies and how local folks should prepare for a "similar approach."

Schools and local governments have time to prepare manageable cuts in a organized fashion, versus the chaotic nature of crisis cuts. The main stream media should be covering this story to find out how they are preparing and what proposed cuts will look like.


Dear School Board Presidents and District Superintendents,

New York is facing a historic fiscal crisis. Over the next four years, we must close a record $47 billion deficit. Given the magnitude of this problem, every area of State spending, including education, will have to experience reductions.

I have been voicing my concerns about the impact of the current economic downturn on our State finances since the day I took office. In August, I convened the Legislature for a special session, during which we worked together to enact $1 billion of reductions over two years. At the time, schools were held harmless to recognize the impending beginning of the school year.

By October, the economic downturn had become so severe that no area of the budget could be exempt from reductions. As such, on November 12, I proposed an $836 million mid-year reduction in aid to school districts for 2008-09. This proposal would have provided most, though not all, districts with increased funding from last year, and would have still allowed overall School Aid to increase by 16 percent over the last two years. However, at last week’s special session, the Legislature did not act. While school aid reductions remain on the table, it is unlikely the Legislature will consider them any time soon. Therefore, we would be well into the final quarter of our fiscal year and even further into the school year before any action would likely occur. Unfortunately, this timing renders the proposal impractical for this fiscal year and I am withdrawing it. However, I will put forward further school aid reductions in the early budget that I will deliver in three weeks.

As I have said repeatedly, delaying action only makes our budget problems more difficult and painful to solve and we cannot solve our budget problems fairly without reductions in every area of spending. Fiscal management is all about making hard, painful decisions, and the rejection of a mid-year School Aid reduction by the Legislature means that deeper declines in funding for school districts will now be necessary in 2009-10 to ensure a balanced budget.

This decision to propose any reductions in education spending was a difficult one for me personally. In my time as a State senator, I had been one of the most vocal supporters in the Legislature of increased funding for school districts. But the unfortunate reality of our current, unprecedented fiscal crisis is that we will have to make numerous tough choices.

Next year, total School Aid is projected to increase by 8.8 percent or $1.9 billion. During one of the greatest fiscal crisis in our State’s history, that is a level of funding we simply cannot afford given that School Aid represents more than one-third of the State’s General Fund spending.

On December 16, my Executive Budget proposal to the Legislature will detail the level of support we can afford to provide for School Aid. But I wanted to write to you today to make my intentions regarding School Aid clear. This will allow you to begin planning for your fiscal futures more than seven months in advance of the 2009-10 school year which begins on July 1, 2009.

I acknowledge that your costs are rising, but I believe all levels of government must reduce spending. This year, I have reduced State agency spending by more than 10 percent. In this unprecedented fiscal crisis, school districts, like all levels of government, will have to take a similar approach and find ways to reduce costs and improve the efficiency of their operations on behalf of taxpayers.

Additionally, it is important that these necessary reductions are analyzed in their proper context. No single fiscal year’s budget should be viewed in isolation. Over the last five years, School Aid has increased by 48 percent. Over the last two years alone, it has increased by over 20 percent. A substantial commitment to education funding will remain even after next year’s reductions

I invite you to join me as partners serving our taxpayers. Perhaps this crisis presents an invaluable opportunity for us to improve the structure of our educational system and how it is financed. I welcome any suggestions you may have.

I know that the months and years ahead will be difficult. But I look forward to your help and cooperation in addressing our State’s fiscal crisis. I know that together we can weather this storm and help get New York’s fiscal house in order.

Sincerely,

David A. Paterson
Governor of the State of New York

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just How Resolute Are The Gang Of Three

Senator Carl Kruger, one of the Gang of Three told the Daily News Ken Lovett:

"We're weeks - maybe months - away from any kind of agreement" on who will lead the state Senate.

Senators Skelos and Smith Talk Turkey W/ Diaz

Senator Ruben Diaz, one of the infamous Gang of Three, has invited Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and current Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith to his Thanksgiving celebration today.

The annual celebration includes $15 food vouchers handed out to 2,000 senior citizens.

Of course they will attend, both are wooing the Gang of Three in order to gain the majority.

How cozy will that be?

Schumer Steps Down

He has firmly secured one of his legacies and now he is stepping aside as the chair of the DSCC.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bertha Lewis - What Unity?

Meet Bertha Lewis, who is Working Families Party co-chair and chief organizer for ACORN.

The Working Families Party is taking credit for sweeping the New York Senate to the Democrats and evident by Senator Aubertine's close association with the WFP support in his career and campaigns.

She made the following comment in speaking about a possible chairmanship for one of the Gang of Three.

She accused Senator Carl Kruger of "palling around with Republican terrorists." 

How is that comment?

It is extremely distasteful and demonstrates just how people like her view differing opinions and leaves no doubt they are close minded to opposing view points in governing.

Sad!

NYS Senate Job Creation Plan

The Senate Republicans unvieiled a job creation plan for New York, here are the highlights.

  • Cut taxes on small businesses in half and eliminate business taxes for small manufacturers;
  • Create new tax credits tied to job creation and job training by manufacturers;
  • Make reforms to the Empire Zone program to increase accountability to ensure that companies receiving benefits create high-paying jobs;
  • Help small businesses obtain loans to grow;
  • Reduce health insurance costs for small businesses;
  • Expand tax credits for investments by emerging technology businesses;
  • Provide low cost student loans and create a tax credit program for students who go to college in New York and stay in New York;
  • Eliminate state regulations, red tape and paperwork; and
  • Give local governments greater authority to provide tax breaks for community and neighborhood revitalization projects; 
Read the details of the plan here

Want Input On RNC- Tex 2 Steele

If you want to give your input on the future direction of the Republican National Committee, then one of the three candidates to lead the party wants you to text it to him.


Michael Steele for RNC Chairman website is set up and he wants you ideas for the future of the party and the ideas can either be sent via video or text message.

Video Instructions:
Grassroots Video InstructionsIf you plan on submitting a video, read the following guidelines and suggestions before you begin filming:
  • Limit videos to 1 minute or less.
  • Make sure your video communicates a clear message. Gather your thoughts prior to filming and practice if necessary.
  • Be unique. We are looking for videos that find creative ways to share ideas.
  • Have a positive message about Michael Steele and the future of the Republican Party. Videos that attack other candidates will not be accepted.
  • Be personable, friendly and exciting. We are looking for videos that are fun to watch!
  • All videos should be family friendly. Each video will be reviewed by the staff prior to posting.
  •  Your video can be uploaded on YouTube and configured to allow for sharing with comments and video rating both turned off.
  • Or you can embed your videos on our site by registering here. Then embed your video in the comments section below. 
Text Instructions:


Do you have a great new idea for the future of the Republican Party or just think there is room for improvement?  Now you can text your ideas directly to Michael Steele.  Text Steele to 66937 today!

              To send a text simply follow these steps:
              1 - Select messages on your cell phone
              2 - Dial the Short Code 66937
              3 - Enter Message "Steele" and send
              4 - You will then receive a return message confirming your registration.  Just repy back - Y.
              5 - You are now able to text your ideas to the Steele website.  To do that -
                                 - Select Message and dial the short code 66937
                                 - Start your message with @Steele (and then text in your thoughts)

Stuff The Turkey

John Cole, The Scranton Times-Tribune

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Youngest Member of Congress

He was elected, as a write in candidate, to the Peoria School Board of Education at age 19.
He earned a four year degree in Finance in just two years.
He unseated a 8 term Democrat in a heavily Democratic district for State Representative.
He was reelected as a Republican in a district that routinely voted 60% Democrat.
He was simultaneously a member of the school and Illinois State Representative at age 23.
He built the Republican party around him by recruiting people for county boards, city councils and committee.

He was just elected Member of Congress, House of Representatives, 18th District, Illinois.

The youngest Member of Congress is Aaron Schock.

Born in 1981.

View his election website - here

He spoke at the RNC, probably will not be the last time.


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Gang of Three Continued

The Gang of Three met yesterday in New York City, while there are no updates from the meeting here is some speculation.

Senator Ruben Diaz, D-Bronx will defect from the Gang of Three. Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith will come to the conclusion that he does not have the votes in his conference for gay marriage and he will cede that point of contention to Diaz. This move will no doubt publicly weaken Malcolm Smith more than he already is by his conveyance of his street style persona.

Senator Carl Kruger along with Former Senator and now Senator Elect Pedro Espada are in this stalemate for the long haul. They appeared to be resolute in their belief that they will not support Malcolm Smith or Dean Skelos.

Here is what Kruger had to say about the special session.
"I don't approve of the way Skelos handled himself or Malcolm," the senator continued. "Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, he comes to the table with a lifetime of experience...In this particular case, if he saw the Senate was dysfunctional, then the Assembly could have passed a bill and thrown it at the Senate."
"Waiting for Dean Skelos and Malcolm Smith to strip to the waist and duel on State Street is not the way of governing."

The conference that blinks first and dumps their leader will win the majority, for the Republicans, their choice is Tom Libous, pictured above on the left with Dean Skelos and the Democrats choice is Jeff Klein.

The Democrats need every one of their 32 members for their majority vote to avoid a tie. Even if Diaz leaves the Gang of Three the vote count is 30-30-2, currently vote count is GOP 30, Democrats 29 and Gang 3.

If they remain a cohesive Gang of Three they will control all the legislation that moves through the New York State Legislature.  

CBS Refusal

CBS refused to air this ad saying "viewers would be confused by its contents" with the news programing, maybe CBS should review the style of news reporting.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Barack Obama Elementary

An elementary school on Long Island has already named the school after Barack Obama. Now, there are a lot of schools named after former Presidents, key word is former, but this may be the first to be named after a President-elect. They better hope his Presidency is true to promise and that it does not go down in flames for one reason or another.

Read the story here 

R.I.P. - DD?

Antithesis blog Danger Democrat has gone dark all of a sudden. The blog posts page has been scrubbed with only the archives left, it is like Ted went into a raging fit, but he states he is just on hiatus.

  1. PIV certainly hopes all is well over there.
  2. How long will it last?
  3. Is DD re-inventing himself, as he has done before?
  4. Did the white knight blog PIV finally slay the dragon blog? (don't get excited folks, just joking)
  5. PIV understands a hiatus, maintaining a blog of commentary and information passing can be a lot of work. It involves reviewing and briefing over 200+ headlines and stories every day looking for information to pass along. 

Survey Says - More Conservative GOP

A survey by Gallup shows GOP registrants want to be more conservative, while Independents are 50-50 split between more conservative and less conservative; is that enough to win elections? In the cycle of politics the party that dominates generally overreaches by driving hard right or left, which drives the independent voters in the middle to the other side. Is moving the base farther right the answer for the GOP? How about just sound fiscal management and common sense moderate social policies for the answer.

Mayor Graham's Pick For 2012

Mayor Graham's horse moose for the 2012 race.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Rightsizing NY Forum

This should be on the "must attend" list for local elected officials.

It is long past due to consolidate and right size government at all levels, and this is just not talking shared services that are thrown around, it should be consolidation and elimination of duplication. Locally there are a number of areas, for instance:
  • Real Property services like assessing, which is performed by the towns, county and city separately, 
  • Human Resource functions performed by the college, county and city separately, 
  • Highway functions   
  • Purchasing 
  • Insurance
  • Buildings and Grounds departments
  • Law enforcement
  • Planning
The local entities - schools and government just received a brief reprieve from crisis cuts, which should allow them to make planned cuts.

What are your thoughts for consolidation?


Vetting Hil

Mike Keefe The Denver Post

No So Frugal Governor

Frugal is a word the only applies to State agencies. The Albany Times Union is reporting that OGS purchased a 10x15 custom stitched rug for the Governor's mansion for the price of $21,000 and of course it was purchased from a New York City firm who contributed $8,000 to the Spitzer/Paterson campaign in 2006.

The rug was ordered the same week the second round of cuts to State agencies was ordered.

Read the story- Purchase of Turkish carpet take taxpayers for a ride?  here.

Editorial or Reporting?

While reading the Watertown Daily Times this morning, this paragraph appears in a story about the Governor's visit to Washington DC, written by Marc Heller.
Their visit also came on the heels of the Republican-led state Senate's failure in an emergency session to reach a deal to reduce New York's budget deficit, estimated at $1.5 billion this year. Mr. Smith vowed to make better progress next year when Democrats assume the majority there, as well.
Republican-led state Senate's failure in an emergency session? This appears without quotes, so a fair assumption is that any good reporter would follow that up with factual information to support such a statement, but he did not follow up.

Hmmm interesting, at last check there were 5 people in the meeting: Governor Paterson, Assembly Leaders Silver and Tedisco, Senate Leaders Skelos and Smith, that would be 3 Democrats and 2 Republicans! Yet, this is one persons fault, amazing.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

No Flippin Here

Danger Democrat posted his holiday wish list for some Republicans to flip over to the Democrats in order to support Malcolm Smith's sagging chances of becoming Majority Leader. Here is one of the Republicans, Senator Alesi, whom DD labeled "flippin." DD may want to watch this video, Alesi is sounding very much like he is with Dean Skelos and the Republicans.



Leader's Debate

This is nothing more than a politic debate, not a policy debate. The Governor insists he has received nothing from the Senate Republicans, yet none of the other leaders have put forward any meaningful suggestions. Paterson's words continue to come back to haunt him.

"Charade" is the word Malcolm Smith uses, which applies to him for his lack of leadership.

Paterson did Smith a favor by not letting him respond to Skelos.

Uh Oh, No Ho Ho!

ABC is reporting there will be sharp cut backs...in gift giving.

51% of the respondents say they will spent less this year than last.

Read the story here

Skelos 2 - Paterson 0



Skelos out maneuvered the Governor at every turn this week and in doing so Skelos avoided all the trappings of the gang attack by Paterson, Malcolm Smith and Sheldon Silver. Governor David Paterson should walk away from this special session with a very special lesson - a better understanding that everyone has relevance in Albany and that he needs all the players to achieve his objectives.

Skelos' first score came when he called the bluff of Paterson's ill fated request that the Senate take up his legislation. Paterson should learn not everything will be taken as a flippant remark, which he has a tendency to do frequently, some days surprisingly people take the Governor serious.

Skelos' second score came when the conference of Senate Republicans voted to keep him as the leader, ensuring Paterson that he will have a formidable competitor for future negotiations and with a fragile non-majority for either party, he and the Republican have relevance. Paterson needs to make amends with Skelos and work with all the leaders to get the state back on track. As Governor he cannot afford many weeks like this week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Espada For Majority Leader

EL DIARIO / LA PRENSA is reporting that one of the Gang of Three is promoting himself for Majority Leader of the New York State Senate. It was previously mentioned here that there was a likelihood of a 30-29-3 vote. The 30 votes for Republican Dean Skelos, 29 for Democrat Malcolm Smith and 3 for Pedro Espada.


Read More Here

Regardless of who becomes Majority Leader, there is no clear majority in the New York State and it will remain fragile and more contentious than ever.

Malcolm Smith's Comments

By contrast this is the rhetoric that Democrat Senate Minority Leader Malcolm Smith gets away and all the while Democrat Speaker Sheldon Silver is silent on everything.

- Smith's Comment - 

"It’s disappointing that we were not able to move forward on anything today.  My Conference came prepared to act, prepared to support Governor Paterson’s call to reach a deal on budget cuts. If we cannot advance the entire package of the Governor’s budget bills, we should put forth components of the bill that we all agree are immediately necessary –  Sweeping Public Authorities, Enforcing Empire Zone Provisions and Consolidating Public Authorities. These budget reductions would save the state considerably."

Frankly, what he said is hogwash, I guess you can still put lipstick on a pig in Albany.

"If we cannot advance the entire package..." restated means we are not prepared to make the necessary cuts either.

"Sweeping Public Authorities, Enforcing Empire Zone Provisions and Consolidating Public Authorities."  This means zip, nada, nothing...it would never occur in a one day session and will take many months to implement. It is only tinkering around the edges, which Paterson evens says will not fix the problem. 


Listen to the post below, the reporter states it correctly, this is nothing less than a gang attack, it is politics by the Democrats setting up the Senate Majority.

Skelos Speaks

Senate Majority Leader Skelos comments. The media continues to be in the tank for the Democrats by letting Silver and Malcolm Smith off the hook and making this a Senate Republican's stalemate. Why is the media not holding Speaker Silver as accountable for not supporting the Governor's proposals and not forwarding any proposals of his own?

In The Tank

If you needed any more proof that the media was in the tank for Obama, you should watch this video. It is very interesting, especially for those who worry too much about insider baseball. This video speaks loudly about the media coverage for the campaign. The video is just shy of 10 minutes, but worth the watch at least for a few minutes.

The video is coupled with a Zogby poll on the website How Obama Got Elected.


 

Off The Beaten Path A Bit

While it is off the beaten path to to post this instead of some normal political items, it may be appropriate. Mickey Mouse could be the mascot of the events in Albany today. 
Happy 80th Birthday
Mickey Mouse
 
Ted Ford probably remembers the inaugural event - just kidding Ted!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Senate To Act

The New York State Senate is going to act on Governor David Paterson's legislation to reduce spending in New York in order to balance the budget this year. Whether it passes or not is another question, but this is what Governor Paterson requested and Senate Majority Leader Skelos will oblige!

Majority Leader Dean Skelos has cut all members loose from manipulating an outcome and told members to vote their conscience. This is probably the closest Albany has come to real democracy by giving members the freedom to vote they way they feel is best for their constituents.

How will Senator Darrel Aubertine vote?

a. He will vote in favor and support legislation to balance the budget and reduce this year's projected deficit by cutting $2 billion in spending.

b. He votes against because he does not believe the two largest areas in the budget - school aid and Medicaid should be touched.

Majority Leader Skelos has put the ball in the respective court of each individual member, this will be the first test of the fiscal discipline and will of the Democrats who hope to become the new majority.

Potential Hil Fil

There is considerable speculation on who will be appointed to fill the Hil seat as New York's Jr. Senator. The name surfacing is Nydia Velazqua and here is an interesing description of her by NY Daily Balance blog.

Read Here

Stay In The Middle Guv


The favorable rating for Governor David Paterson is high according to the latest Siena poll released today, (here) but his handling of the fiscal situation facing New York State will ultimately determine his job approval from the residents.

The Governor needs to stay in the middle in the negotiations and not get caught up on whether the Senate Republicans and Assembly Democrats are to blame.
He is falling prey to the tendency to gang up and blame the Senate Republicans, while at the same time the Assembly Democrats are just as responsible for the spending spree that the government has been addicted to and they are just as responsible for their failure to act. This is a not a partisan issue, the Governor has consistently stated there is no place for politics, yet he injects it in almost every comment he makes.
According to an article in The New York Times, Assembly Speaker is not exactly out in front championing the Governor’s proposed budget cuts.
It is even unclear how Assembly Democrats view the governor’s plan, and that casts more uncertainty over the fate of the special session. They are scheduled to meet on Monday evening to discuss Mr. Paterson’s deficit reduction package, but there is no indication yet that the Democrats have consensus within their conference. And some members are likely to resist the governor’s calls for such deep cuts
Mr. Silver, a Manhattan Democrat, has not said publicly whether he would support the governor’s proposals.
The Governor has not sent any bills to the legislature for them to act on and it is within the three day aging period. The Governor should get the bills to them post haste, let them work through the issues in joint committees and then take up or down votes. This is a joint effort and the legislature needs to act accordingly, failure to move it forward will be just as much a Democratic issue as it will be a Republican issue.
Majority Leader Dean Skelos has stated the Senate would take up or down votes on bills if he has them. The Governor should accept his offer and insist the Assembly Democrats do the same, one for all, all for one; this is not a time to act independently.

Gang of Three

The Gang of Three holds tight to coalition that could dash the hopes of Malcolm Smith and the Democrats controlling the majority of the New York State Senate. There is much talk of the Gang of Three supporting a Republican for leader, which they deny, but they could vote for another Democrat and not betray their party and default a Republican to leader.

Correct, they could nominate one of their own, such as Pedro Espada, for majority leader and the vote could come down to 30-29-3 with a Republican victor.

A simple majority of legislators present, provided a quorum, is necessary to elect a leader.

In this case, a quorum is 32 members, so the minimum votes needed to elect a leader are 17. Therefore, a 30-29-3 vote would be valid.

It appears the Democrats will have to have Malcolm Smith exit stage left while Jeff Klein enters stage right to possibly keep these three happy. The three will not support Skelos either, therefore the possible new brew for leader is between Klein and Senator Tom Libous.

Michael Steele Potential RNC Chair

Steele is the former Lt. Governor of Maryland, current chair of GOPAC, a blogger and a pretty sharp thinker, listen to what he has to say about the new direction of the GOP.


Spitzer Reinserts Himself

Spitzer wrote a lengthy piece for the Washington Post today, read it here and he ended it with this remark. Is this the start of a comeback?

Although mistakes I made in my private life now prevent me from participating in these issues as I have in the past, I very much hope and expect that President Obama and his new administration will have the strength and wisdom to do again what FDR did.

Eliot L. Spitzer was governor of New York from 2007-08 and state attorney general from 1999-2006.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

No Surge

There was no surge of support for Obama in the North Country, he did not inspire the base as much as Kerry, but the problem was McCain inspired his base even less. 

All three counties: Jefferson, St. Lawrence and Oswego recorded fewer votes for president in the 2008 race than in the 2004 race, Obama receive 720 fewer votes than did John Kerry, while McCain dropped even faster.

Interestingly enough Oswego went for both Obama and Renzi.

Here are the preliminary numbers, excluding paper ballots.

                   2004            2008
GOP                                                -5647


Jeff           20248             18593       -1655
SLC          17310             15972       -1338
Osw          24645             21991       -2654

Dem                                                  -720

Jeff           16342             16222       -120
SLC          22173             21642       -531
Osw          23261             23192       -69

Jefferson -- There are 10K more Republicans than Democrats
McCain wins by about 2000

St. Lawrence -- 200 more Rs than Ds
Obama won by 6000

Oswego -- 17K more Rs than Ds
Obama won by 1200

The Hil Fill

The Hillary fill in is up to Governor David Paterson, a seat he has coveted, but he may want to think twice about appointing himself.

Here is what history has to say,
  • Montana, 1933 – Sen. Thomas Walsh (D) died. Gov. John Erickson (D) appointed self, lost 1934 primary.
  • Kentucky, 1939 – Sen. Marvel Logan (D) died. Gov. Happy Chandler (D) appointed self, won elections in 1940 and 1942.
  • Nevada, 1945 – Sen. James Scrugham (D) died. Gov. Edward Carville (D) appointed self, lost 1946 primary.
  • Idaho, 1945 – Sen. John Thomas (R) died. Gov. Charles Gossett (D) appointed self, lost 1946 primary.
  • Wyoming, 1960 – Sen.-elect Keith Thomson (R) died. Gov. John J. Hickey (D) appointed self, lost 1962 election.
  • New Mexico, 1962 – Sen. Dennis Chavez (D) died. Gov. Edwin Mechem (R) appointed self, lost 1964 election.
  • Oklahoma, 1963 – Sen. Robert Kerr (D) died. Gov. J. Howard Edmondson (D) appointed self, lost 1964 primary.
  • South Carolina, 1965 – Sen. Olin Johnston (D) died. Gov. Donald Russell (D) appointed self, lost 1966 primary.
  • Minnesota, 1977 – Sen. Walter Mondale (D) elected vice president. Gov. Wendell Anderson (D) appointed self, lost 1978 election.
compiled by Ken Rudin

Saturday, November 15, 2008

What Choice Do They Have

Medicaid and School Aid spending account for 57% of the projected spending growth in the 2008-10 budget. The Governor and Democratic state legislature have little other options to control spending than these two areas, but do they have the will.

New Blog

This blog will be added to my daily must read list.


NY Daily Balance

Little did I know, but PIV is already listed on their blog roll and I do not even know who is writing this blog, Newzjunky is listed also.

She's Gone

You can bet a large sum that she is a pick for a cabinet position, and yes possibly Sec'y of State. In everything printed about her yesterday, never once did you read, she has no interest or she would prefer to remain the Senator for New York residents. She often used those or similar phrases when the veep vetting was occurring, but not now.

Here are her coy comments. 

“I am not going to speculate or address anything about the president-elect’s incoming administration."
 
“And I’m going to respect his process, and any inquiries should be directed to his transition team.”

Friday, November 14, 2008

Budget Cut Overview

This is the Governor's plan that no one will pass or even come close to touching.

Malcolm Smith, Sheldon Silver, et al, will wait for the Republicans to tell them the stove is too hot before they reach out. The taxpayers will have to wait to see what the Democratic controlled state government will do to deal with a $14 billion dollar deficit, instead of the $12.5 deficit that was projected.

Guaranteed tax and fee increases!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Fight The Cuts


Like the increased spending will help us, a new fight is on -  

Fight the Cuts.Org "budget cuts will be devastating to New York"

Here is their plan, it has three parts:
  • Utilize the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund
  • Wait for a Federal relief package to help states
  • Share the sacrifice with the wealthiest New Yorkers

Raising Revenue

Shared Sacrifice AND Shared Responsibility
With a budget deficit growing every day, our leaders in Albany address the need for additional revenue by:
  • Creating fair tax and revenue policies
  • Making use of the Tax Stabilization Reserve Fund and the Rainy Day Fund
  • Requiring those New Yorkers who have the most to contribute their fair share
  • Closing corporate and other tax loopholes

You can just tell tax increases are coming.

Special Session Likely To Go No Where

- Peterson -

"We're not going to get out of this quagmire we've built until we reduce our spending."

EJ McMahon said it appropriately "Paterson's straight talk is a refreshing contrast to the mushy evasiveness of George Pataki and the preening self-righteousness of Eliot Spitzer. And it's the furthest thing from the cult of fiscal victimhood promoted by Mario Cuomo during the crisis of the early 1990s. "

The bottom line is budget cuts for the special session are not going anywhere.

The Democrats, such as Sheldon Silver, who earlier this year denounced the severity of the situation and even failed to put his list of cuts on the table this round are simply playing politics, typical Albany style.

Speaker Silver, Minority Leader Smith and Comptroller DiNapoli are simply attempting to box in the Senate Republicans with the various comments these three have made, yet Smith or Silver have failed to produce a proposal of cuts from there respective sides.

- Smith -

"The Senate Democratic Conference supports his efforts and asks for the support and unity of all New Yorkers as we make the difficult decisions necessary to get New York working again. The Senate Democratic Conference is considering a number of proposals to help meet our financial challenges. We remain committed to working with the Governor, Speaker Silver and our legislative leaders to cut wasteful spending while preserving money for vital services and growing the economy."

Where is his proposal of cuts?

- Silver -

"On November 5th, the Assembly released its Mid-Year Report on Economic Forecast and Revenues in which we projected an even larger deficit than the Governor projected today, in both the current fiscal year and the year beginning April 1, 2009. We also project that the overall economic outlook for the state for 2009 is bleak."

Where is his proposal of cut?

This is the type of partisan rhetoric that earns Albany its appropriate label of the most dysfunctional state legislature, this is nothing more than a showdown that will produce little of no results next week. Neither Silver and Smith are not operating out of any sincerity of doing what is right for the taxpayers, they are simply walking in the land of OZ, making this a political show and the Republican Senate will dig in and resist.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

CSEA Pushback

David Paterson remarked yesterday about being haunted by piano music in an ad by SEIU that was attacking him early this year.

He will have more sleepless nights with the onslaught of ads that are coming his way.

Minority Caucus Statements

It is easy to make such statements when they do not determine the final action that will be required. This is the role of the loyal opposition, to throw the bombs without having to bare the brunt of the decision.

- New York State Senate Democrats -

Today, Governor Paterson took the courageous first stepof reducing spending and addressing the budget gap. We are facing tougheconomic times and Governor Paterson’s approach is a prudent way tohelp New York State regain fiscal solvency.
The Senate Democratic Conference supports his efforts and asks forthe support and unity of all New Yorkers as we make the difficultdecisions necessary to get New York working again. The SenateDemocratic Conference is considering a number of proposals to help meetour financial challenges. We remain committed to working with theGovernor, Speaker Silver and our legislative leaders to cut wastefulspending while preserving money for vital services and growing theeconomy.


- New York State Assembly Republicans -

Our Conference appreciates and acknowledges GovernorPaterson’s efforts to respond to these challenging fiscal times byoffering substantive proposals that would address the root causes ofNew York’s deepening financial crisis. We will carefully examine theGovernor’s proposed cuts as we move toward our Special Session nextweek.
We are concerned about the Governor’s recent reference to possiblyrolling back the gas tax cap, which is ultimately a tax hike onconsumers. Now is definitely not the time to be raising taxes on NewYorkers. A gas tax hike would hit Upstate and Long Island motoristsespecially hard, which is exactly the wrong prescription for dealing with this recession. The Governor has previously indicated that tax hikes should not be part ofa solution to the current state fiscal crisis. On behalf of theUpstate and Long Island families our Conference proudly represents, weask the Governor to honor that sentiment as this process moves forward.

Here Comes The Pushback

This was expected.

Down Day

My computer is infected with a virus.

I am posting remotely from phone, hopefully be back tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Governor's Town Hall Today

He received a very warm welcome and in his usual style, he talked seriously and candidly about the severity of the fiscal situation facing the state, but added a little levity to the discussion from time to time.

He was warmly welcomed, after which he quipped, "They may want to record the warm reception and replay it after people listen to what I have to say."

  • The $400 million the legislature cut was after he had already cut $600 million by slashing agencies over 10% and the state still faces a $1.5 billion deficit that keeps growing. 
  • There is only one other time the state has faced such a dire fiscal situation with a deficit greater than $6 billion and that was in 2003-04 following the 9/11 attack when the state faced a $11 billion deficit. Next year's deficit will be $12.5 billion. 
  • The sacrifices will be shared: counties, towns and villages. 
  • "We will have pain when we allow spending to get out of control."
  • He spoke about the stimulus package he requested from the federal government to include providing jobs by building infrastructure including the I -81 connector road. 
  • He essentially ruled out the so-called millionaire's tax saying it would dry up a job creating mechanism and prove to be more of a hinder right now by driving revenue raisers out of the state. 
  • Mid year cuts in school aid - he did not rule out such a measure, saying extreme times call for extreme actions. 
  • When questioned on a metaphor of using a "big knife" or a "scalpel," he responded , "We are using a big knife like a scalpel."
  • He resisted unions accusing him of wrecking New York State, by stating that not acting would wreck New York State. 
  • He said it was time to stop the gimmicks, time for belt tightening and called for a "culture change to break the addiction."
The Governor spoke candidly and refreshingly forthright. He was quick on his feet and showed a clear grasp for the situation as he took questions that were submitted only minutes before he took the stage.

Governor's Town Hall

Governor's Town Hall
Syracuse, NY

The civic center is approximately 3/4 full and the Governor is about to make his entrance.

City of Watertown Manager Mary Corriveau, Clarkson College President Anthony Collins and State Senator Darrel Aubertine are in attendance.

Governor's Town Hall Meeting In Syracuse

Governor David Paterson will host a town meeting at 3 p.m. today the Onondaga County Civic Center.


The governor is hosting town hall meetings as he prepares for the special session of the state legislature, he is requesting $2 billion in cuts from the state's current budget shortfall.  He has asked both legislative branches to submit proposals, but of course they failed to accomplish this task.

The town hall sessions are title "New York's Fiscal Crisis: The Governor's Upstate Town Hall Meeting."

If you wanted to attend you needed to submit your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address to BudgetTownHall@budget.state.ny.us and Julie.baldwin@chamber.state.ny.us.

The meeting will begin at 3 p.m. Those who have registered to attend must arrive at the Civic Center by 2:30 p.m.

Refreshing

After a hard fought political season it is refreshing to see politics put aside for a smooth transition. Bush is handling the transition with class and grace, while Obama is handling it with respect and humility.

Remembering

It is a simple task for those who did not have a simple task. Politics aside, these people gave us the ability to discuss and debate ideas freely, trials of political campaigns pale in comparison to those who gave us that freedom.

 

Monday, November 10, 2008

What Are They Thinking At JCC

Sometimes it is enough to make you wonder what planet JCC orbits. Today a news release on Newzjunky announced information about a new position for Vice President for Community Engagement. Say what?

Here is an excerpt of the release:
As Vice President for Community Engagement, Dr. Johnson will serve as the chief advancement officer for the College, overseeing the Jefferson Community College Foundation, Public Information, Continuing Education Division, Small Business Development Center, Grants Office, Institutional Technology and Institutional Research areas of Jefferson. In this position, Dr. Johnson will play a pivotal role in developing community partnerships as a key liaison with local schools, businesses, organizations and Fort Drum to strengthen and expand educational opportunities in the north country.
Read the rest here

This reads like the job description for the President of the college and the balance of the release certainly appeared to be responsibilities of the President.

It makes you wonder whether or not the college is operating in the same New York State as every other public entity, at a time when government is rolling back spending and bracing for what appears to be a 3-5 year down cycle, JCC is increasing their administrative cost, unbelievable.

GOP and Democrats Leadership Tussles

Discussions continue on who will lead the State GOP and Ray Meier continues to be at the forefront of the conversation, while at the same time a question remains on who will be the leader of the New York State Senate, even which party is still in question.

-Meier-
"...Obviously, you have to have attractive, inspiring candidates, but a successful political movement still depends on ideas and a message. Our party has been lacking that. Also, we need to rebuild from the ground up. We've paid no attention, as Bill Powers did, to electing supervisors, county executives, mayors and county legislators."

"I don't think it's productive for this to be all about Joe Mondello," Meier said. "He has a long history of service to the party. I don't want to get engaged in a protracted civil war."

The Gang of Three continues to play hardball. Senator Diaz appears to be holding firm in not committing his support for Malcolm Smith. It only takes one Democratic Senator to make it an even split.

-Diaz-
"If Senator-elect Hiram Monserrate has made a decision in Puerto Rico to endorse Senator Malcolm Smith, that is his decision. I have not made a decision yet and hope the others have not either. I have not committed myself to anybody, and my position as an ordained minister and a pastor will not allow me to support any would be leader that will bring gay marriage to the Senate floor."


Stop the Tax Shift - Website

The Hizzoner and his colleagues at NYCOM, New York State Conference of Mayors have come out with a new website.

The site, Stop the Tax Shift, can be seen - here

The site features;
  • analysis of state mandates,
  • discussion on tax shift, an attempt to educate the public about what NYS may do by passing cost down,
  • an extensive list of state mandates,
  • and Joe Taxpayer blog (here is a hint, Joe anything is getting worn out)


This is somewhat of a dueling website with the Governor's "Reduce NY Spending," the Governor's site is part educational and part subtle political campaign.

No Place To Go

Darrel Aubertine is by any account a conservative Democrat, but with an agenda revved up by the Working Families Party and the strong left wing liberal component of the New York State Democratic machine where will he land on issues that definitely cut away from his comfort zone?

From the The New York Times
The pending shift in state Senate control away from Republicans removes one clear obstacle to legalizing gay marriage in New York, though opponents aren't conceding anything yet and advocates say they have work to do.
The Democratic majority of the New York State Senate sits at 32-30, there is no room to let a Senator, such as Darrel Aubertine, off the hook on legislation they are indebted to pass for the constituencies that put them there.

Meier State GOP Chair Possible

Former New York State Senator and all around good guy Ray Meier was featured in a Newsday article (click here) on reinventing the GOP message.

It would be nice to see Ray as state chair, here is what he had to say in the article.
"And this party needs to develop a message and we need to talk to people about things that are relevant."

He said that means reviving the upstate economy, lowering property taxes, making health care affordable and accessible, and improving the quality of schools, even if politicians have to cross powerful lobbies.

"Unless you have something interesting to say, you don't have a future," he said. "Successful political movements are about ideas."
There is one more to add to the platform and that is to speak candidly about the finances of this state. This should be a GOP platform, but David Paterson has capitalized on it, as he says,
"The only reason that I say that is it’s so clear right now after the downturn in the national economy, and the way the national public reacted, that those who are more candid are surviving when years ago it was perceived that those who brought the bad news suffered for it."
Ray if you become state chair, make being honest, open and candid the "in thing," you can't lose.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Non - Political Moment

A certain high school football coach was caught attempting to accomplish tasks he expects of the kids he coaches. Coach Millich was impersonating Eli Manning, but it would be wise for the high school players he coaches to check the stats of the game just for giggles and kicks, this guy is too old to play football any more.

Photo courtesy of the Watertown Daily Times

On To Iowa

Politico is reporting the march to 2012 with the elephants heading for Iowa.


High profile appearances by Romney, Palin, Jindal, Huckabee, et al.


Read here

The Curly Shuffle For The Transition Teams

A little Curly Shuffle for the transition teams in the New York State Senate, White House, etc.  

One Down

The Gang of Four Three.

Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.
Former Senator and now Senator Elect Pedro Espada, Jr.
Senator Carl Kruger
Senator Elect Hiram Monserrate


One down and three to go for Malcolm Smith to claim the Majority leader trophy. The count was 32-30, Democrats to Republicans, then when these four caucused independently it went to 28-30-4, now it is 29-30-3.

Monserrate rolled for a committee chairmanship and $12,500 stipend according to AP.

So much for reformed government.  

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reborn Again

A lot is being said and written about how Republicans need to reposition themselves in light of this week's debacle at the polls. This was a particular interesting interview with incoming GOP chair for the state of Ohio.


THE COLUMBUS DISPATCH
A fixation on social issues, continuing scandals and a worn-out message are costing the Republican Party support from the young voters it needs to remain viable, the incoming chairman of the Ohio Republican Party told reporters yesterday.

In a candid appraisal two days after a second consecutive dismal election for his party, Kevin DeWine said the party is suffering "an identity crisis" and must rethink what it stands for.

"It is my belief that our party has lost a generation of young voters," said DeWine, who is expected to be elected chairman in January by the state party's central committee.

"The number of voters between the ages of 18 and 29 who look at the Republican Party as a party of choice for them is gone. Those voters 18 to 29 simply don't look at the Republican Party as a viable solution to the problems that they're facing. So we as a party have to figure out how do we connect with them and how do we connect with them with a message that resonates and shows to them that the party has something to offer them."

DeWine's comments came on the heels of another good election for Democrats: Sen. Barack Obama was elected president; Democrats padded their majorities in both houses of Congress, including picking up at least two House seats from Ohio; and they took control of the Ohio House for the first time since 1995. Two years ago, Democrats won the governor's office and three of the other four statewide executive offices.

"When all else fails, it's time to rethink, and that's the mode that we're going to be in nationally and it's the mode we need to be in here at the Ohio Republican Party," DeWine said.

During Republican Ronald Reagan's presidency in the 1980s, DeWine said 40 percent of Ohioans considered themselves Republicans; that number has declined to 27 percent. There are 47 million Americans in the 18-29 voting age and in Ohio, according to exit polls, 64 percent of voters in that group supported Obama.

DeWine said the party is paying because it has left "our conservative roots based in fiscal responsibility and limited government and we have exchanged it for large government expansion, arguably the largest government expansion in the history of our nation."

"You add to that the growing frustration with the five-year (Iraq) war, the unpopularity of an incumbent president, a distracting fixation on social issues and never-ending ethics concerns (and) the electorate said they had enough. And I can't say that I blame them."

For too long, DeWine said, social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage have driven the GOP agenda, causing it to lose voters looking for pragmatic solutions to everyday problems.

"We have to exchange a fiscal message and economic message in for a social message that has dominated the messaging of this party for the last decade. We have to re-engage the middle class, step up with an agenda that solves problems and puts people first."

In a separate interview, House Speaker Jon A. Husted, a Kettering Republican, agreed that the party had moved away from its principle of fiscal discipline. He viewed the election as a starting-over point.

"I think the results of the national election are, in many ways, a blessing for the Republican Party in that we can stop trying to stumble to our feet," Husted said. "Instead we can wipe the slate clean and begin a renewal of our party, its leaders and its direction."

Dispatch reporter Jim Siegel contributed to this story.
Obama had what appeared to be an "Oh Crap" look on his face yesterday.

Patrick Chappatte cartoon

Friday, November 7, 2008

Reduce NY Spending

The Governor has launched a new website called Reduce NY Spending.


The site features:
Countdown to the budget deadline,
Various charts illustrating the fiscal crisis (some that have been featured here),
Schedule of town halls where the Governor will address the fiscal situation of the state,
Budget FAQ,
Governor Paterson's plan,
A place for your input (click here)
A budget balancing calculator where you can submit your own plan. (click here)

Take a tour, you will like it.

New York's Early Voting Possibility

The possibility of New York becoming an early voting state was just moved to the forefront by Governor David Paterson.

Here is Governor Paterson's Letter to Secretary of State
Dear Secretary Cortés-Vázquez,

Tuesday’s historic election saw a record number of New Yorkers go to the polls to cast their ballot. We are a better, stronger democracy when more citizens participate in elections.

With the election now behind us, we have an opportunity to assess our voting processes, identify best practices from across the nation, and remove obstacles associated with exercising the right to vote.

For this reason, I am requesting that you submit a report to me within 60 days that will include the following:

A thorough assessment of the November 4 election, including an analysis of voter participation and the effectiveness of local Boards of Election in managing record turnout, as well as an identification of the most pressing barriers which interfere with full participation in elections by New Yorkers eligible to vote;

Recommendations based on that assessment and the best practices in other states, recommendations for how the State will increase voter participation, focusing on the following:
A) simplifying the voter registration process and reducing the burdens voters and Boards of Election face in filing and processing registration forms;

B) the potential benefits, disadvantages and costs of moving towards an early voting system, including easing the process of filing absentee ballots, extending the number of days citizens may vote and mail-in voting;

An update on the progress the State is making in modernizing voting equipment and, where necessary, issue recommendations to ensure New York’s voting machines and ballot are accessible to all voters and meet the highest standards to ensure accurate vote counts

I look forward to reviewing your report and subsequently working with the Legislature to advance proposals that seek to ensure that we are doing our part to remove any obstacles that may stand in the way of full voter participation.

Regardless of our political leanings, we should all be heartened by the increased involvement of New Yorkers in the democratic process. Greater voter participation strengthens our society. But, we in government can and must do better by ensuring that on future Election Days we provide New Yorkers with a modern and inclusive process that facilitates voter participation and engenders full confidence in our elections.

Sincerely,

David A. Paterson
Governor
New York State

Ahmadinejad Congratulations

The fact that Ahmadinejad congratulated President elect Barack Obama is a reason to worry.

Is that a positive sign of diplomacy?

Or

Is this guy just a snake in the grass who hopes he has encountered a weaker opponent in Obama?

Job Losses

EJ McMahon blogged yesterday that the Governor's job loss projection of 160,000 maybe optimistic. He reports in previous downturns job losses reached 500,000 in 1990-93 period and 300,000 in 2001-03. The 1990-93 recovery period was nine years while the 2001-03 recover period was six years.

 
McMahon warns against past practices of significant tax increases by governments in order to survive the downturn. He blogs this is not an ordinary downturn, financial markets are in for permanent change and reality is more regulation and less profit.
Government budgets need to take in account this permanent loss of revenue and "reorder" their priorities, he  warns that tax increases will only cause job losses to become more severe and longer lasting. While his primary focus in the article is New York City and New York State budgets, local governments should be prepared for the trickle down from the loss of revenue from the state.   

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Market Tumbles

The stock market has taken its worse two day tumble, between Wednesday and Thursday, since 1987.

Read Bloomberg here

A few detractors might be quick to point out Obama's victory may be the reason for the tumble, but no significant evidence could ever be produced that would lay blame at the feet of the chosen one, especially given the recent fluctuations of the market. Although, it is quite a coincidence, and what most likely remains true is that Obama has no magic bullet in his arsenal to slay the dragon, therefore the market corrective actions will continue to stumble around as Rome burns.

UPDATE: Analysts were saying on TV last night the market sell off could be associated with Obama's proposed  increase in the capital gains tax.

Role Reversal - WWNY Comments

The media is often chasing people down for comments and then validating those comments for accuracy, so it is quite intriguing when media actually makes comments without any validity.

Case in point, WWNY TV 7 made a comment (two actually) in their coverage of Jefferson County's removal of the gas cap.
"By removing that cap, it would add a few cents to gas prices in the first quarter of 2009."
The county legislators have repeatedly told the media there is no way of tracking it and therefore no way of knowing whether or not the consumer is receiving the benefit from the tax break. How does TV 7 validate its own remark saying it would add a few cents to gas prices?

In addition to the written remark by WWNY, Ken Blankenbush was interviewed on the morning show and the morning anchor Jeff Cole said, "let's talk about the gas tax cap, which has been in effect and saving people in Jefferson County money as they pull up to the pump..." Again, this comment has no validity, and Blankenbush corrected him by saying essentially there is no way of knowing whether consumers are seeing the savings or not.

The day after the cap is lifted there is no way of knowing whether a price increase is a result of this decision or not. 

New York State's Fiscal Mess - Reason #3

This is the third chart of a series of reasons why New York State is in such a fiscal disaster. They continue to spend money that they do not have and when revenues plummet they will only to look where they have increased their spending.

Look at what they have done with education spending. If they reverse this trend without a tax cap then watch out property owners



Senate Majority - In Registration Only?

The New York Senate Democrats have the majority in registration only at this stage of the game and four Senators are key to whether or not the Democrats become more of a majority than just numbers.

Meet the new independent caucus of Senators who may pre-empt Malcolm Smith's plans.

Right to Left
Senator Ruben Diaz, Sr.
Former Senator and now Senator Elect Pedro Espada, Jr.
Senator Carl Kruger
Senator Elect Hiram Monserrate

Three of the four have historically done business and sided with the Republican caucus. Was that just to get more than the table scraps? Possibly, but Diaz has said all along he will not support Malcolm Smith for Majority Leader while Kruger is reported to have an extremely poor relationship with the Democratic caucus. Therefore, it remains to be seen whether Smith will have enough juice to become the Majority Leader. One thing is for sure, the four will leverage their independence for all it is worth.

If Smith makes it to leader, it could be short lived if these four are not considered in every issue he moves forward. If people do not think these four are serious, well they fired the first salvo today and skipped Wednesday's Democratic caucus meeting in Albany.

There is an outisde chance Senator Tom Libous could become majority leader, that would be a good move for New York and upstate.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Open Letter To The GOP

There is always a certain amount of reflection after a whipping like the one that the Republicans experienced last night. When a political party fails as badly as it did last night, something has to change.

Here is an open letter to the GOP that was received this morning.


Democrats Runaway With It All

Some days you are the bug, others you are the windshield, last night the Democrats were the windshield and everything they ran into was flattened.

Politics is cyclical and after 8 years of a tumultuous administration, voters made Republicans pay for it at the polls up and down from local to national races. Republicans have been reduced to the loyal opposition or even spectators at all levels on the federal and state scene. Democrats will be responsible for all governing and likewise they will take the praise and fault, both parties have experience with the circular firing squad.

Congratulations to all the candidates; John McHugh, Michael Oot, David Renzi, Darrel Aubertine, Addie Jenne Russell, Bobby Cantwell, and Donald Lucas for a spirited race and congratulations to the winners; John, Darrel, and Addie.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

David Renzi At The Polls

 David Renzi voted earlier today.

 
Photo Courtesy of Norm Johnston at the Watertown Daily Times

10 ReasosnTo Ignore Exit Polling

10 reasons to ignore exit polling, read the entire piece click on FiveThirtyEight.

1. Exit polls have a much larger intrinsic margin for error than regular polls. 
2. Exit polls have consistently overstated the Democratic share of the vote. 
3. Exit polls were particularly bad in this year's primaries. 
4. Exit polls challenge the definition of a random sample.
5. Democrats may be more likely to participate in exit polls.
6. Exit polls may have problems calibrating results from early voting. 
7. Exit polls may also miss late voters.
8. "Leaked" exit poll results may not be the genuine article.
9. A high-turnout election may make demographic weighting difficult. 
10. You'll know the actual results soon enough anyway.
         

Another Blogger's Viewpoint

A late find, but this was lifted from Pandora's Box of Rocks, it is a well written piece.


The election is very soon and we are being told to vote for Darrel Aubertine because "He's one of us." Let's examine that statement.

The statement implies that his opponent is not to be trusted he is one of "them." This seems to be a great campaign strategy however the problem is that this is a divisive attitude and an insidious problem that eats away at the core ideals that this country was founded upon. This is a downright un-American Campaign Strategy. I am not surprised that Darrel is using the one of “us” campaign because that is the underlying problem with Darrel's home town, Cape Vincent. Cape is an “us” and “them” town. A favorite expression of some of the “us” people living in Cape is, "if your diapers didn’t hang on the line to dry in the Cape you don’t really “belong”. In other words, you are a “them.” You are an outsider, an interloper, a non citizen without any rights. When meeting people for the first time the usual question asked of you is “are you one of the summer people?” Whenever you question an issue that affects where you live you a generally ignored or told that you don’t understand what is right for the town because you are an outsider.

When you are asked vote for Darrel Aubertine because he's one of “us” what Darrel is really saying is I am one of you but I want to be one of “them”. This is a big problem because he actually sees his constituency as inferior to what he aspires to be. Someday his constituency may become the evil inferior “them” because Darrel and the down state Democrats will now become the elite, the “us”..

How can someone who has such a divisive platform be effective once elected into office? Frankly I find this “one of us” campaign crap offensive and insulting. Divisive attitudes like this divide communities and nations. We live in ONE NATION. Cape Vincent is a community divided; the wind companies came to town and exploited this division.

When people allow themselves to be exploited by this type of polarization they become vulnerable, just who will be the next “them”? Will it be hunters? Perhaps it will be gun owners, or just anyone who doesn't agree with our senator's agenda? Remember the words “WE THE PEOPLE.” It’s time to elect someone who does not divide his constituency into “us” and “them.” This nation fought a terrible war over the “us” and “them” issue and it cost us dearly. We need to work toward what is right for all the people not just those who fall into the “us” category. It is time to elect Dave Renzi as OUR SENATOR.

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